You have to meet new people… that’s the best part!
As a typically outgoing person, I still hit a brick wall while traveling solo. I’ve tried a few different techniques and hope some of them work for you too.
Here’s what’s worked for me:
1. Carry a deck of cards.
“Hey, have you ever played King’s Cup?”
I’m serious. There’s nothing like getting a group of people together and suggesting a drinking game or non-alcoholic card game (I like the game “Bullsh*t” too).
You can teach them a game from your country, and they can teach you a game from theirs. Before you know it, the ice is broken and everyone is laughing.
From backpacker bars in Rio, trains in Eastern Europe, and organizing Aussie road trips for people who don’t know each other, this has been my #1 conversation starter.
2. Everyone loves food, so why not love food together…
“Hey, what are you doing for dinner tonight? I’m getting a group together to split groceries and cook together. Throw in some brews, are you interested?”
This works in hostels, with locals, and even if you all want to eat out before going out. It’s nice to chat with people and get a taste of who they are before going straight out to experience a night out on the town.
Alternatively, ask if they’ve heard of any good restaurants nearby that you could check out together.
3. Ask for directions or suggestions on what to do/see. Even better: ask someone to take a picture of you!
Photography is a great way to meet new people!
“Hey what’s the best place to get some good pictures around here?” or “Where do all the locals go on a Saturday night?” “Can you suggest a scenic place for a jog?” “Do you mind taking a picture? I don’t want to a take a selfie!”
If you’re situated around public transport, around locals in a social setting, or even around other travelers who have been in town for a couple days, have a chat about their recommendations. There’s a good chance that you will end up exploring together! Sometimes asking someone to take a picture of you leads into a “where are you from?” and “what are you doing here?” Oh hi, new friend. Awesome.
4. Joke about the truth: you don’t know anyone and are looking to meet new people.
“How do you guys all know each other?” and “Where are you from?” are great ways of leading into: “I’m Stephanie, I’m actually traveling solo. It’s kinda crazy, but I’m always looking to meet up with other travelers (or locals). Want to join me on a hike